How to Automate Order Processing (+ 3 Tools)

January 23, 2024
5 mins
How to Automate Order Processing (+ 3 Tools)

The first sales order you get is exciting.

So is the 100th, but when you hit this point, manual order processing becomes a headache, if not impossible altogether.

It involves many steps, from receiving orders, shipping them out to customers, and updating your inventory.

As an ecommerce owner or entrepreneur, you want to make sure your order processing is organized, accurate, and fast.

Automating order processing has become a popular way to save time and money. It allows you to focus on adding to and growing your sales channels. Most sellers find it necessary to start automating their order processing especially as they expand into B2B e-commerce channels due to the added complexity of working with offline retailers and EDI.

Let’s take a look at how automation can help streamline your business operations.

What is Automated Order Processing?

Automated order processing uses technology to manage the flow of customer orders, streamlining all the steps in fulfilling orders and managing inventory. 

This saves companies time and money by eliminating tasks such as manually entering data or tracking inventory levels.

Typically, this is done by connecting systems through API endpoints. "Events" are ingested from one system (such as an order placed on a Shopify store) before that information is sent to the other system or a new action is created.

While every company's workflows will look different, many involve similar steps. 

For instance, your workflow to automate order processing might look like this.

  1. A retailer purchases your product on Faire’s wholesale marketplace
  2. This order data is sent to your warehouse system or 3PL to begin the shipping and order fulfillment process.
  3. When tracking information is available, it can be pushed back to Faire to notify the customer (and also to initiate your Faire payout).  
  4. The order and customer information then gets pushed to your Quickbooks for accounting purposes. 
  5. If you're selling on multiple channels, like Faire or Amazon, then your inventory on those channels can automatically be updated as well.

Just imagine doing all of that manually with a spreadsheet.

4 Benefits of Automated Order Processing

There are many benefits to automated order processing, including:

  1. Saving time and money 
  2. Improved customer experience 
  3. Consolidated order operations
  4. Reducing errors

1. Saving time and money

Sales order automation saves time and money by eliminating manual processes such as entering data into spreadsheets or tracking orders across multiple systems. 

Just ask yourself, “what is my time worth?” Then imagine how many ways you could better use that time you’re currently wasting on manual tasks (growing sales, improving customer service, building your team, etc.). 

Adding order automation to your workflow can also save you thousands of dollars a month. You might be paying someone to manually enter orders. Let automation do that work for much cheaper. Or delayed or inaccurate inventory level updates can result in missed sales. A potential buyer might be presented with an Out of Stock message on your online storefront when a product is available. 

The increased efficiency from sales order automation becomes exponential as you continue to grow and add new sales channels. 

2. Improved customer experience

Making sure that your customers always have the most accurate information is essential to keeping them happy. With the advent of Prime 2-day delivery, modern-day consumers have become accustomed to up-to-date tracking information, visibility to product availability, and swift fulfillment. While it may not be possible to deliver  your products in only two days, automating order processing removes delays, improves inventory tracking, and allows for better tracking information to flow to customers.

When you have effectively communicated with your customers and established a history of reliability and transparency with them, they will be more likely to forgive errors when they do occur. Building better relationships with your customers is essential for the long-term growth of your business and adding automation into your order process can only help.

3. Consolidated order operations

One of the biggest benefits of automating your order processing is that you can connect your existing, disparate systems into a unified hub for order operations. 

By integrating your multichannel order sources to your ERP or accounting software with your 3PL and fulfillment systems, you can quickly access data from all sources in one place. This makes it easy to track orders, ensure they are fulfilled quickly and accurately, and ensure inventory is updated across all sales channels.  

4. Reduce Errors

One of the biggest benefits to using automated order processing is reducing errors that can occur with manual order entry.

Of course, it's easy enough to hire a human to do all of this for a small number of orders. But when you scale, the cost and error rate becomes large, which not only affects your bottom line but can harm customer satisfaction.

For instance, after you process orders, you may incur some amount of returns or shipping delays. Without an automated order processing system, it's easy to miss these. It's even easy to accidentally write the wrong customer information or sales costs when you process orders manually.

How an Integration Partner Can Help Automate Order Processing

Integration and automation platforms are increasingly becoming a popular way for businesses to streamline their order processing. 

These tools provide an automated solution that can help business owners save time and money while reducing errors. 

Businesses need Integration and automation platforms as the solution for how to automate their order processing from start to finish. 

You’re likely familiar with a certain level of automation provided by the individual platforms you already sell on. For example, Shopify offers payment processing and delivery notification automation. Adding additional automation is a natural progression in your business’ growth trajectory.

If you’re a multichannel seller dealing with multiple platforms like Faire, Amazon, and offline retailers having a single middleware tool to automate order processing in real-time is critical for scaling your business.

3 Methods & Tools to Automate Order Processing

  1. Syncware
  2. Workato, Celigo, and other automation tools
  3. Native order processing apps

1. Syncware

Syncware is a cloud-based integration and automation platform designed to help multichannel sellers streamline order processing.

It goes far beyond automated order processing, actually. With Syncware, you can connect your order sources and automate everything, including your orders, shipments and delivery, products, and inventory management. 

It allows businesses to connect all their order sources to their existing internal systems, such as ERP, accounting software, 3PL, or warehouse systems, providing full visibility throughout the order lifecycle. 

Some popular integrations include Faire, Quickbooks, Shopify, MarketTime, and ShipStation.

Learn more about Syncware here. 

2. Workato, Celigo, and other automation tools

Enterprise automation software is a type of technology that seeks to streamline and optimize business processes by automating routine tasks. 

It is used to automate mundane, repetitive tasks that are broad in scope.

Some use cases could be simple, like entering data into a database or managing inventory levels. Others could be automating employee onboarding and offboarding for HR teams, provisioning software and automating invoicing, or even doing marketing and sales automation. 

However, these tools can be expensive and aren’t purpose-built for ecommerce businesses. Thus, they may be more costly and require a lot more work setting them up to make the workflows effective for your order operations.

3. Native app (unidirectional syncing)

Sometimes, you'll have luck with native integrations through your existing software platforms. 

For instance, if you're a Shopify user, you've likely got some native applications available. There are some limitations on their automated order processing and fulfillment, though (you can read more about how to set it up here). 

The big problem with only using automation functionality in single apps is it still doesn’t solve the problem of multichannel or multisystem integration. Unless you’re purely selling via one channel, you’ll still be doing manual tasks. 

In many cases, businesses will use native functionality in conjunction with a middleware integration platform to make sure everything is synced across platforms.This adds complexity and requires ongoing manual work from technical teams to ensure the disparate connections are functioning as desired. 

Eliminating Manual Order Processing is Critical to Growth

Automating your order processing is a great way to streamline your ecommerce business operations. Moving from manual entry to automation increases efficiency and accuracy while reducing errors but most of all, it can save you a ton of money every month. That time and money can be invested on activities for growing your business, not just managing it. 

Don’t wait until your order operations are crippled by manual tasks. Start automating your order processing now as a competitive advantage to unlock growth. 

Join our newsletter to stay up to date on features and releases.
Thank you!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.